Aim to be proud not loud
Not a year goes by without some strategic report saying that Sheffield or the city region doesn’t ‘shout about’ itself enough.
How are we supposed to be taken serious on the national or international stage if we don’t make a lot of noise? is the go-to position when Sheffield ranks below a city of what we perceive to be a lesser status in an article or poll.
I’ve always found this a bit of a cop out and slightly disrespectful to the people who are doing their utmost to promote the city – as well as, increasingly, the whole city region including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and North East Derbyshire.
Being a hidden gem doesn’t necessarily mean that people are ignoring you. It could be that you’re difficult to get to, or that part of your charm is that you are relatively undiscovered so those who do know about you feel special rather than just part of the crowd.
Having big, bold and brash on your CV doesn’t automatically mean you are better. Cities like Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham are ones that Sheffield often gets lumped in with to usually make the point that we’re doing badly.
Instead of trying to compete against perceived rivals why don’t we just try and be the best we can?
Sheffield city region is going through some fantastic regeneration from the very visible signs in the city centre through to proposals to transform Rotherham town centre and beyond to Doncaster/Sheffield Airport’s grand plans.
Don’t get me wrong, we should set our sights high. There’s nothing wrong with looking at what others do, or plan to do, and try to emulate them. But it must be from a position of being self-confident.
As we move through 2019 there will be much to get excited about. Challenges will arrive, yes, but that’s true of every city.
Outstanding businesses and individuals will always command attention. Self-confidence in who we are and what we do is far more impressive than simply shouting ‘look at me!’